Dear friends and supporters,
I am so grateful for your support. You make possible all that we do at donkeysaddle projects.
2014 has brought into stark relief how much critically important work must be done, and how interconnected are so many struggles for freedom, equality, and dignity, whether in Ferguson, Palestine, or Bahrain.
The racism inherent in our country’s state violence (be it the death penalty or police killings), the utter disregard for human life that enabled the recent devastation in Gaza, the continued targeting of human rights defenders from Bahrain to Brazil…these all serve as powerful and painful reminders of how vital it is to highlight everyone’s equal humanity, and to insist on the protection of everyone’s rights and freedom.
In 2014, your generosity helped donkeysaddle projects in the struggle for human dignity and human rights by supporting our ability to:
- Speak out with Troy Davis’s family about the death penalty and criminal justice system in California, Washington, Oregon, Illinois and North Carolina, reaching approximately 1,700 people, most of them students.
- Launch the I Am Troy Davis Community Book Club, in which the book was read and discussed in 45 book groups all over the country—including nine groups in prisons, several of them on death rows.
- Create the Prisoner Communication project as an outgrowth of prisoners participating in the Community Book Club.
- Complete the film Witness Bahrain, documenting the crackdown on Bahrain’s pro-democracy activists since February 2011.
- Produce a 7-part video series on Brazil with the human rights organization Front Line Defenders, exposing the human rights underbelly of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.
- Deepen ongoing work on Israel/Palestine, including several written pieces in response to the Gaza War, and a follow-up to my 2011 award-winning documentary film, One Family in Gaza.
I will be in Israel/Palestine when you receive this letter, perhaps in Gaza, assessing the impact of war and siege on Gaza’s health and education systems; with Israeli friends in Tel Aviv or Haifa as they struggle to dismantle their country’s structures of power and privilege and replace them with structures of true equality and justice; at the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, filming artists who bravely continue in their path of cultural resistance to oppression; or in Jerusalem, documenting the boiling-over tensions of the city, and examining the conditions that led there.
In 2015, your support can enable donkeysaddle projects to continue this ongoing work in Palestine/Israel, in Bahrain, and in the U.S.
Here’s what we have planned in the year ahead:
- Premiere and promote the newly-completed film Witness Bahrain, to support Bahrainis struggling nonviolently for freedom, democracy and human rights.
- Develop the play There is a Field (about Aseel Asleh, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who was killed in October 2000), with New York-based theatre artists, leading to a college tour of the play.
- Continue to work with Troy Davis’s family to end the death penalty and expose its connections to other forms of U.S. state violence.
- Expand my work with prisoners, providing platforms for prisoners’ writings, thoughts and reflections.
- Get a second saddle for the donkey! In order to for donkeysaddle projects to effectively reach and impact the greatest numbers of people, I am planning to hire an Outreach Coordinator in 2015. This will enable donkeysaddle projects to expand in critical ways, as we build relationships and lasting partnerships with individuals, organizations and communities…but it also means that I will need to significantly expand my fundraising efforts!
Your contribution allows donkeysaddle projects to have impact for years to come and supports a vision of the world in which every person’s humanity, dignity and rights are equally respected and equally protected.
Please support donkeysaddle projects with a contribution that feels meaningful to you this year! For online donations, including monthly donations, please click here. For info on donations via check, please click here.
With warm wishes for a New Year that brings us closer to peace with justice, dignity, freedom and equality for all,